Playing For Change

Ben E. King’s classic has always been one of my favorite songs, especially once discovering that he initially had no intention of recording it himself.  After seeing this cover frequently pop up over the past week, I figured I’d be a follower and post as well. “Stand By Me” was the first of many covers recorded around the world as part of the award-winning documentary Playing For Change: Peace Through Music.  The idea for the project arose from “a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.”  In my professional opinion, it appears we’re looking at a full-blown hippie jamfest the size of which we’ve never seen.

It all started with guitar and vocals recorded by Santa Monica street musician Roger Ridley.  The base track was then taken to New Orleans where blind French Quarter resident Grandpa Elliott added vocals and harmonica while listening to Ridley’s version on headphones.  From there, the producers took the resulting mix all through Europe, Africa, and South America, adding new tracks with multiple instruments and vocals that were assembled in the final version.  The collaboration definitely reminds me of the “Where the Hell is Matt” series I posted about when I first started the blog:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
If I had to guess, you can probably find the Playing For Change CD/DVD at your favorite neighborhood Starbucks next time you are downing a frappuccino.  For additional viewing pleasure, I also recommend checking out Ridley’s soulful Sam Cooke cover.

One Response to “Playing For Change”

  1. cbgb Says:

    i just checked out the website, this is so cool!

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